Students at Tappan Zee High School were invited to a talk with Michael Berry, writer and director of the epic movie, Frontera, starring Ed Harris, Michael Pena, Eva Longoria and Amy Madigan. The close to 100 students who attended, mostly juniors and seniors, are taking courses in either issues and government, law and literature, or TV studio production. They all had the opportunity to view the film before the visit.
Berry shared with the students his motivation to write Frontera stemmed from his childhood. He co-wrote the script with his best friend who grew up in the border town Douglas, Arizona to help shed more light on issues such as immigration, prejudice, and gun control in the United States and Mexico. He said that one of his goals while writing was to develop the characters in a way that depicts the humanity and harshness that exists on both sides of the border.
Students and teachers asked Mr. Berry questions about his career as an actor, writer, and film director, and of course, what it was like to work with such famous movie stars. Mr. Berry admitted that he was nervous telling Ed Harris where to stand when they started filming, but that he was able to overcome his fear knowing that they had similar backgrounds in theater. Students also asked many questions about immigration laws, gun control, and various aspects of the film, including how long it took to write the script.
Mr. Berry was described by students and teachers as honest, articulate and insightful as he covered a wide range of topics that our students are learning about in school. He told them that he admittedly waited too long in his career to write about something he cared about and encouraged them to do so sooner.
Mr. Berry is a South Orangetown resident and parent.